Dubuque Book Programs

Access to books can be a barrier to learning, especially for low-income families.  These programs provide books to organizations and families to help make sure every child has access to books.


The following book programs are available to organizations.

reach-out-readReach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read programs make early literacy a standard part of pediatric primary care for low-income families.  At every well-child check-up for children aged six months to five years, doctors and nurses encourage parents to read aloud to their young children, offer age-appropriate tips and encouragement, and provide a new, developmentally appropriate children’s book to keep.

Crescent Community Health Center was awarded a $1,000 grant from the Dubuque Kiwanis Club in 2014 to support the Reach Out and Read program in its facility. Dr. James Livermore, Crescent pediatrician, began Reach Out and Read at Crescent in 2014. So far, over 400 books have been distributed to children at their well-child exams.


These book programs are accessible to parents and/or caregivers.

imagination-libraryDolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, developed in 1995 for her hometown of Sevier County, Tennessee, has been replicated in communities across the United States and abroad to bring books into the homes of preschool children.

Through the United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States, every child from birth through the age of five is eligible for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Participating households will receive a free book every month mailed to their home and addressed specifically to the child. The books will be free of charge and the program is open to all children in Dubuque County, regardless of socioeconomic status.

books-babiesBooks for Babies

Books for Babies is a national literacy program that acquaints parents of newborns with the important role they play in the development of their children.

Through a partnership between the Carnegie Stout Public Library, Mercy and Finley Hospital, parents of newborns are presented with a Books for Babies kit containing a board book for baby, baby’s first library card, and a variety of brochures with early literacy information and tips from nationally-recognized educational organizations.

little-free-librariesLittle Free Libraries

Little Free Libraries are small boxes that house free books for anyone to take and exchange at any time. Returns and/or exchanges are not mandatory, but encouraged.

Dubuque’s Little Free Libraries are open to everyone regardless of income level, age or residence. Non-residents are welcome to participate. Currently, there are ten known Little Free Libraries located within the City of Dubuque.

View the Dubuque Little Free Libraries map to find a Little Free Library near you!

bridge-readingBridge to Reading

The purpose of the Bridge to Reading Picture Book Award is to promote early literacy and reading to children through the introduction of quality picture books nominated by a committee of librarians, teachers, and preschool and early literacy leaders. The award book is chosen based on quality and characteristics of a good “read aloud.” The award engages children in the voting process through local daycares and preschools and develops a lifelong love of books and reading.

csplCarnegie-Stout Summer Reading Program

The Summer Reading Program encourages children to read during the summer, use the library and develop the habit of reading.  Recreational and education activities are also offered through the program.